Tefillah Tuesday: Open Your Mouth Wide

Pesukei d’Zimra, the “verses of song” that open the morning liturgy, awaken us spiritually before the central prayer elements. Maybe you believe one or another Jewish teaching about God. Maybe you don’t. But if you want to daven, the minimum spiritual prerequisite is that you praise, that you gaze at each new morning and sing.… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Alef, The One

The usage of Psalm 100 in Pesukei d’Zimra depends on how you interpret the title. Mizmor Le’Todah, מזמור לתודה, means either a “Song of Gratitude,” or the “Song for the Thanksgiving Sacrifice.” Those who associate the brief poem with free-willed – that is, optional – sacrifices, generally refrain from reciting this psalm on Shabbat or… Read more »

YOM YERUSHALAYIM, GOLD AND IRON

This week we mark the 50th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the 1967 Six-Day War, certainly the most momentous passage in Israel’s history. Israel’s territory was multiplied almost three-fold, acquiring Sinai (of course later returned to Egypt), Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These latter two were annexed under Israeli… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Confess the Truth

“One should always be God-fearing in private and in public, to confess the truth and speak the truth in one’s own heart.” This sentence begins a short paragraph in preliminary morning prayers, calling attention to the life’s fleeting ephemerality, and directing our attention to Ecclesiastes 3.19. “What are we? What is our kindness, righteousness, and… Read more »